A Nurse with Data - DailyWearForMedicine.com

By Ramana Annamraju  www.DailyWearForMedicine.com


A lady with extraordinary data analytical skills might have been known to us as "a lady with a lamp." She was the first woman; for a matter of fact, for either man or for a woman, she was the first to utilize population health analytics to fight diseases and get funding for her causes.



Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was a mathematician who happened to be a nurse. Though she did not invent the pie chart, she is undoubtedly the first to popularize it. Through the power of data analytics, Florence Nightingale demonstrated the benefits of good sanitation practices and well-designed hospital rooms. The prestigious journal Scientific American recently paid tribute to this remarkable woman by publishing an article, "What Florence Nightingale Can Teach Us about Architecture and Health," during Covid. She became an accidental architect for hospitals. She proved how well-circulated air and open windows with sunlight could help recover from injuries much faster. Nightingale convinced the Empress of England, Queen Victoria, to allocate more funding for her causes by presenting health data using color infographic charts. She was the first presenter of Public Health data in her own designed pie chart. One of her causes is nurturing the injured British soldiers back to health.

Russia's desire to occupy foreign lands and wanting to control the Ukrainian population and its territory is not new. It happened before in the year 1856. The Crimean peninsula was home to a primarily Ukrainian population that used to be part of the extended Ottoman Empire (Turkey). Russia declared war against the Ottoman Empire to take control of Crimea. A major military conflict had erupted between Russia and the England-backed Ottoman empire. Primarily British forces were leading the war against Russia. It was a brutal war; that resulted in half a million deaths, an astonishing number for those times. Highly deplorable conditions for injured British soldiers. Though born into privilege, Florence Nightingale chose to serve.

Florence Nightingale arrived in Istanbul, Turkey with a small team of nurses to set up a hospital. Istanbul is a city across Crimea another side of the Black Sea. A historian writes, " This frail young woman ... embraced in her solicitude the sick of three armies". She lobbied and imported prefabricated hospitals from England. She might be a nurse, but she was also a brilliant mathematician. Her skills came in handy. She demonstrated through health data that good sanitation practices and well-ventilated rooms could save lives.
In honor of her data analytical skills, Edward Jarvis, president of the American Statistical Association, paid a special visit to her in 1861 in London. Nightingale reduced the death rate from 42% to 2% by making improvements in hygiene. Nightingale implemented handwashing and other hygiene practices in the Crimean hospital for injured soldiers.

History repeats itself. The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine is exactly for the same reason. Crimean peninsula is again the center of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Here is the reminder for Russia. They lost the war to England in 1856.

Florence Nightingale used to make late-night rounds in the hospital with a lantern in her hand. The injured men in the hospital fondly referred to her as "lady with the lamp." 
Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow celebrated her in, the "Santa Filomena" poem Lo, in that house of misery A lady with a lamp I see Pass through the glimmering gloom And flit from room to room.
"lady with the lamp" became an iconic symbol of compassion for humanity. She inspired millions of women to pursue nursing.
Nightingale made a comprehensive statistical study of sanitation in British India. In 1858 she successfully lobbied for the establishment of a Royal Commission on sanitation in India. She made a huge difference in medical care particularly in rural India.


President of India every year presents the prestigious "Florence Nightingale award" to a well-deserved nurse. The award became more meaningful to front-line healthcare workers during the current pandemic. . In Turkey, several hospitals are named after her. Millions of nurses worldwide recite Florence Nightingale's pledge during their graduation ceremonies.

In 1860, Nightingale republished her most famous book, in the U.S. Notes on Nursing. The notes became the basis for nursing for the injured soldiers of both sides, the Northern and the Confederate Armies during the Civil War.
While America is still under slavery, Florence Nightingale welcomed and hosted a Jamaican-born Black Nurse Practioner, Mary Seacole, to Turkey's battlefield-run hospital. Her compassion towards fellow humans was boundless. Once a self-incriminating prostitute asked Florence Nightingale, "am I going to hell for my sins? ". Florence Nightingale responded, "Oh, my girl, are you not now more merciful than the God you think you are going to be, yet is far more merciful than any human creature ever was or can ever imagine."
It is a disservice to call a celebrated statistician, the most compassionate nurse, and one of the great social reformers of our times just "a lady with the lamp". It is time to acknowledge Florence Nightingale as 19th century prolific Public Health researcher, an influential lobbyist, and an originator of the field of nursing. ************************************************************** You can purchase our uniquely patented designed T-shirt on Florence Nightingale on Amazon


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